Spar owner to pay R12 million to workers

A Hartbeespoort Superspar owner has to pay workers almost R12 million after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found that he contravened labour laws.

The labour violations investigated against Chris Giannacoupolous, owner of Sediba Superspar owner by the Department of Employment and Labour include failure by the employer to issue employees with contracts, long working hours without overtime compensation, Sunday remuneration, public holidays and leave not granted according to the law, as well as illegal deductions. Complaints related to the hiring of illegal foreign nationals were also investigated.

He was ordered to pay an amount of R 11 935 478 to workers within 14 days, the department said in a statement on Monday.

“The Department of Employment and Labour welcomes the outcome of the CCMA to grant eight arbitration awards in the department’s favour against the eight Spar outlets owned by Mr. Giannacoupolous. The awards compel the franchisee to comply with compliance orders issued and pay all complainants. Failure to comply with the awards will result in the respondent having to pay accrued interest in terms of section 75 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA),” said Advocate Michael Msiza, spokesperson for the department.

Msiza said the decision follows inspections by the department in May 2019 after a series of complaints of alleged gross violations of labour laws at Spar stores across the country. “On investigation, all the stores which happened to be violating the labour laws were found to be owned by Mr. Giannacoupolous. Ten stores were affected with nine based in Gauteng and one in the North West. The inspections were conducted at Spar Orchards, Dely Road, Doornport Spar, Montana Spar, Wierda Spar, Silverton Spar, Zambezi Superspar, Rietfontein Spar, Silverplace Spar and Safari Spar in Rustenburg. These outlets employ 565 workers.”

Giannacoupolous also owns the Sediba Superspar in Hartbeespoort. The Department of Employment and Labour Inspector General, Aggy Moiloa, said the relentless work that is carried out by inspectors is contributing towards making a difference in the lives of vulnerable workforce. She urged employers to respect and comply with the labour laws in South Africa.